Preview: Austin City Council Feb. 4 meeting

The south entrance of Austin City Hall faces East Cesar Chavez Street in downtown Austin.

The south entrance of Austin City Hall faces East Cesar Chavez Street in downtown Austin.

At the Feb. 4 Austin City Council meeting, council members plan to hear a limited amount of public comment regarding a petition signed by opponents of new regulations for ride-hailing companies—also known as transportation network companies, or TNCs.

The Austin City Clerk's office on Feb. 2 verified petition signatures that sided against City Council's TNC regulations passed in December, which included a requirement for fingerprint-based background checks. City Council now has 10 days to accept the petition demands—by approving the petition's language into law—or put the issue to a public vote, which would take place in May.

Mayor Steve Adler said he expects council to hear public testimony on the petition during its Feb. 4 and Feb. 11 meetings before making a decision regarding the petition Feb. 11.

During the Feb. 2 council work session, Adler proposed the idea of a new city ordinance that would prohibit mandatory fingerprinting for TNC drivers and incentivize voluntary programs like the Thumb’s Up! badge. If Adler brings this new ordinance to City Council for approval, any vote would occur before the TNC petition decision Feb. 11, he said.

Because the public comment on the TNC petition will not be an official public hearing, council will likely limit public input so speakers may testify either Feb. 4 or Feb. 11, but not both, Adler said.

Other topics on the Feb. 4 City Council agenda include:

  • Item 20: Regarding a potential interlocal agreement with Austin ISD to create five pocket parks on existing school sites

  • Item 37: Regarding the creation of a work plan for reviewing and discussing Austin Energy base rate adjustment

  • Item 38: Regarding the potential development of a live/work artist community in collaboration with art nonprofit Artspace